Lago di Como brings to mind images of grand villas rising from the lake, parasol pines spreading their canopies above verdant gardens and red tiled roofs everywhere. Pictured here is the dreamy Villa del Balbianello, exquisite enough for James Bond in Casino Royale. We had taken a vacation in Switzerland, the last stop being one night in Lake Como. I loved being a tourist, an off duty buyer, enjoying the excursion boat tour of the lake (“….and to your right, the villa with the green shutters… is George Cluny’s home..”) as well as walking the steep stone steps of the idyllic, (but crowded) Italian fairy tale town of Bellagio. Wandering around during our hour long stop I spotted some beautiful silk shawls in a shop window. Little did I know that I was in the European epicenter of silk production and weaving. During the 18th century, silk was the largest export of Lombardy, with many mills near the lake. A fine silk textile tradition continues to this day. I quickly snapped up a number of pieces for the store, now long gone, but plan on bringing in a new assortment of these beautiful textiles this fall!